Luka Doncic Trade Speculation Swirls Amidst Dallas Mavericks Collapse

The Dallas Mavericks are in the middle of a dangerous downward spiral that could leave them on the outside looking in this postseason. That institutional failure has sparked doubts about the franchise's long-term prospects and fears that their superstar Luka Doncic may force his way to greener pastures. The four-time All-Star expressed frustration with his team earlier this week:

The Mavs are 37-40 and the 11th seed in the Western Conference and are in very real danger of missing the play-in tournament despite Doncic's 32.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game. Worse yet, they've lost 14 of 22 games since they pushed their chips to the center of the table and acquired Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets. Irving is a free agent this offseason, and if he decides the situation in Dallas doesn't suit him, he could sign with another team and leave the Mavericks with an alarmingly bare cupboard. Doncic's disappointment, the uncertainty of Irving's future, and the struggles of the Mavs understandably have vultures circling. Trade speculation has begun in earnest. 

Superstars of Doncic's stature aren't content with mediocrity long. The Mavs need only look to Irving for proof of that: he hasn't played more than four seasons with a team since he left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017. Since 2016, Kevin Durant has bounced from the Oklahoma City Thunder, to the Golden State Warriors, to the Brooklyn Nets, and most recently to the Phoenix Suns.

Forcing a trade (or politely requesting a trade) isn't the taboo it used to be. Irving and Durant got their way at the trade deadline earlier this season; Paul George, Anthony Davis, James Harden, and countless others have been obliged with brief but minimal blowback in recent years. If Doncic looks around at the Mavericks and feels the ceiling caving in on him, he could be the next major star to take his fate into his own hands. And given the stockpiles of assets teams like the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder have accumulated in recent times, someone could actually make it worth the Mavs' while.

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